The purple-leaf plums may bloom first, but the pale haze of cherry trees this week is ethereally lovely against the dark April skies....unfortunately cherry trees suffer from disease in our climate. Prunus 'Berry' Cascade Snow, with the single white blossoms pictured at left, is one of the healthiest cherry trees for our climate and tops out at about 18 feet tall and wide in 10 years..
It's easy to forget how large cherry trees can grow - check out this gorgeous specimen in full bloom at Greenlake on Wednesday morning...I believe this is a yoshino cherry (Prunus x yedoensis), the same kind of Japanese flowering cherry blooming in the quad at the University of Washington and at the tidal basin in Washington D.C.
My mother always grew an autumn flowering cherry (Prunus autumnalis) outside her kitchen window so she could see flowers all winter long, but I'm afraid I've given up on these disease-riddled trees. But who with a heart and eyes can give up on cherries altogether?
The Great Plant Picks program has selected three kind of ornamental cherries that do pretty well in the Northwest, including Cascade Snow and the yoshino cherry above. A smaller version of the yoshino called daybreak cherry (Prunus x yedoensis 'Akebono') had brighter pink flowers and grows only about 15 feet tall in a decade.
I was startled into memories when I went to the GPP website this morning and found that the photo they use of daybreak cherry is growing in front of my old house in Sheridan Beach - I miss those trees! This glorious cherry was one of three growing along the sidewalk in full sun where it bloomed happily, usually the last week of March and into early April.....